Needles and Sharps Alternative ways to recycle Illegal in Garbage & Drains Hazardous Waste Special Instructions Needles should never be placed in a recycling cart, flushed down the toilet, or discarded separately or loosely. To properly dispose of sharps, place them in a dedicated, approved, red sharps container and drop off the full container at one of the MED-Project locations. These red sharps containers are available at a very nominal fee in 1-quart, 5-quart, and 2-gallon sizes at all pharmacies. See our video on this in English, en español. You may also request a sharps mail-back package by visiting MED-Project or calling (844) MED-PROJECT (633-7765). For more information and drop-off sites in Santa Cruz, visit www.med-project.org Note: Take needles and sharps to participating stores during store hours only. Do Not Recap Do not put needle caps back on needles to avoid injuring yourself from needle pricks. Never Throw Away Do not throw needles or sharps in the trash in order to protect sanitation workers, trash haulers, friends and family from needle pricks. Needle pricks put them at risk of infection and injury. Use Only Sharps Containers for Disposal To dispose of needles and sharps, place them in sharps containers and bring them to a designated sharps disposal facility. What Is Considered a Sharp? All of the following must be disposed of as sharps waste: hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets and other devices that are used to break the skin of people and animals. Alternative Ways to Recycle Mail-Back Programs for Injectable Pharmaceuticals Mail used sharps and pens back to the manufacturer of injectable pharmaceuticals. The following manufacturers accept sharps waste generated from their products: Cimzia® (UCB), Enbrel® (Amgen), Humera® (AbbVie), Neulasta® (Amgen), Novo Nordisk, Orencia® (Bristol-Myers) and Simponi® (Janssen Biotech, Inc.). Stericycle® Mail Service for Home Sharps Stericycle runs a sharps container mail-back service for small quantity generators of waste. They include bar-coded waste shipping containers, prepaid and pre-addressed shipping labels and prepaid disposal and tracking. Find out more. Ways to Reduce Return Unused Sharps to a Needle Exchange Program Instead of dropping off unopened sharps at a disposal facility, consider taking them to a needle exchange program. Find the nearest program. Did You Know? How Sharps Affect Sanitation Workers Disposing of sharps isn’t always convenient. At the same time, sharps in the trash and recycling pose a huge health risk to sanitation workers. If workers come across a needle hidden in trash, they can get struck and have to wait up to a year to know if they’ve contracted a blood-borne virus, such as hepatitis B.